Dear Adoption, You Aren’t Always Right
Growing up, my adoption issues lived mostly in the confines of my own head. I was adopted domestically so most people had no clue my parents, siblings and I didn’t have the same genes. I went to live with my new family when I was less than 2 weeks old. I was born to one woman and left the hospital with a different woman. I always thought that seemed weird since the first woman wasn’t dead.
My mom said I cried a lot when I first came home and that I wouldn’t settle with her when she held me but that she always loved me so much. She said she knew I was hers.
When I was 4 weeks old, my birth mom changed her mind.
She called the adoption agency, the hospital, the social worker and even the police to try and get me back.
She felt pressured to give me up for adoption because she was a single woman with a bright future; one they told her neither she nor I would have if we stayed together. If she wanted good for me she would have to let me go to a new, better mother.
The weeks after my birth were torture for her. It wasn’t as if she were missing a piece of her own body, she was missing a piece of her own body. My birth mother wanted to scream, and cry and crawl out of her own skin because the missing was emotional and physical and more painful than even the physical aspects of my birth.
She did everything she could do. She called incessantly and made pleas and begged and offered to pay money.
But the agency and my parents decided I already belonged to them.
My adoptive parents fought for me. They fought hard against the injustice of someone attempting to take their baby.
Isn’t that strange? They (my parents, the agency and our church) were all appalled a woman would agree to give her child away and then ask them to give her child back a couple weeks later. How could she go back on her word? She promised them her baby and it was outrageous to them that she would change her mind and actually want to keep and raise her baby. They were certain she wouldn’t be as good of a mom as my adoptive mom. They were certain my life would be better in their home. They were certain I wouldn’t be as safe with her or have as many opportunities. They were certain they were right and she was wrong. They were certain I was their baby because they had prayed about it and believed God gave me to them. In their minds more than ever, they were certain she was not fit to be my mother and her changing her mind confirmed that to them.
They were certain about things they had no business being certain of.
My birth mom was denied. Her last pleas was to amend the closed adoption to an open adoption.
They all said no.
I never knew a different life but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it. I had a really good life and upbringing. When I said before that my adoption issues lived in my head I mean I never shared them with anyone. I wondered about my birth mom a lot. I was told she was single, poor and therefore incapable of caring for me. I remember when I was 11 I asked my mom how we got so rich. She was confused. She went on to say we weren’t rich and I didn’t press it further. In my head I was trying to figure out why poor people shouldn’t have children and that also had to mean my parents were rich since it was better for me to be parented by them than by a single, poor mother.
When my story was shared at church, with strangers and among friends, my parents always shared how they fought for me and then the compliments poured out like a flood. My parents are actually really good people and I love them a lot. They didn’t mean to do what they were doing. They had good hearts behind it all but that doesn’t mean it was right. It wasn’t right. Good Christians with good intentions aren’t always doing what’s right. I would like for people reading my letter to understand this. I’m working up the courage to tell my parents and my pastors how I feel about all of this but it’s hard. The guilt comes mostly from how I was told to feel, because what could I possibly have to complain about? I mean, I had parents who fought to keep me and give me a better life. My birth mother fought for me too but for some reason that did not matter as much as the fight of the people who claimed me as theirs even though I actually wasn’t.
When I look back I feel bad for everyone but mostly for my birth mom. She and I met in person for the first time a few weeks ago. I had been holding onto her information for almost a year. I finally reached out to her after reading Stephanie’s post, Dear Adoption, I’m Trying to Unravel the Mess You Made. After we met I found myself having a similar experience to her. My birth mother probably would have been a really good mom. She had less money and moved more often but she would have loved me, known me, understood me and been mine more than any other mother with more money.
And I have to live with knowing my parents fought to keep me from her. I haven’t told them yet. I’m too scared and worried. Being adopted has been great for me and terrible for me but the hard thing is knowing my life could have still been great without adoption. I don’t know what else to say except that adoption isn’t always right.
I love that this powerful story is still being written. I can’t wait to read about what happens next.
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Why does it take us adoptees years to see the injustice of this? What medically happens when we are taken from our mothers at birth – what cruelty is this for a newborn – how is ever acceptable to do this to another human being? I do know. I was adopted.
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Many first moms report they have a sensation of loosing a limb–a leg, arm, hand, etc. This sensation last decades, if not forever. For a smaller number of mothers it was their skin. Every time I thought of leaving the hospital without my baby, I felt my skin being pulled off my body–all of it, and bits of dirt and grit being embedded in my moist muscles and sinew, all the while there was a wild animal shrieking in the back of my brain. It was continual, without stopping, unless I said to myself I’m keeping her. The first night was tough until I figured out the only way to make it stop was to tell myself that, of course I was keeping her (which is what I passionately wanted to do), I just didn’t know how I could keep her right then, but I would figure it out tomorrow. Then I could fall exhausted to sleep. That was 51 years ago and the sensation still returns when I feel rejected because I’m not good enough or don’t deserve to be loved. I’m 70 years old now, I never let myself have another baby, I never married–shit, I have never had a boyfriend. I am profoundly grateful my daughter was born.
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This one hit me hard. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s powerful and it makes people think about yet another side of this thing called adoption. I’m so glad to know my post encouraged you to find your mother. That’s why we do this, right? I hope and pray your reunion will be easy and healing, for both of you. Feel free to contact me anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you for sharing the beginning of this story. There are so many mothers, just like your mother who are fighting really hard for their babies. I think I shall like to encourage you to keep being brave. I’m also an adopted, and I know to the average reader these small actions, like calling our mother sound easy, but calling mine was the hardest thing I’d ever done. That being said, if you allow us (anonymously of course) to continue to follow the story with you, I know many would be intrigued. It’s not too often we hear that a mother fought to keep her baby (you). I could only wonder what I would have thought or felt if I knew that. I really relate to the everyday thoughts of my mother…
Blessings to your tender heart.
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Reblogged this on elle cuardaigh.
Please encourage everyone to blog their story. The Internet has a way of showing the world how adoption teaches us the importance of keeping original family together.
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Reblogged this on wsbirthmom and commented:
W, I may not have fought in court, but I am in other ways. Saving OUR Sisters is all entirely for you, because I only eveevent ed
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Please continue to create a grassroots movement, to educate women about the “psychological importance’ of keeping their children; for both mother and child.
Maintaining family, through all forms of dysfunctional situations, and through all difficult processes necessary to attain mental, physical health, and financial independence, is far better than separating a family. All will survive.
If you are deserted by family, be your own support system…be tough.
What ever road it takes to keep families together, take it. Forget about public opinion..its your family.
Through your experience women are getting smarter, tougher, and trust their own instincts. Well informed women are less manipulated by people in positions of power, including social workers, doctors, and adoption agency’s.
And please share, that all cities have a list of Pro Bono attorneys that should help them keep their families together. Still, all attorneys need to be vetted, interviewed to learn if they will support you in court to keep your family together..Chose a representative wisely.
Dr. Allen N. Schore has a new study about separation trauma boys experience. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28042663
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Life is such a crap shoot,whos to know how life goesi was given away at a yr or 18 months, im told i cried a lot,i was explained by a caring family member that me biological mother was a pretty red head very nice but she had trouble with alchol, with that she was a very different woman mean and agressiveour dad was a drunk too, so me and 3 other siblings were given away, ive always felt if my mother could do that whatever until i made it to 35 then i started to really want to know more abt her, im 62 she is probably died by now due to life styly, absoulty anything info abt her would mean so much to me.